Foster parent arrested after toddler drowns in front of him

Travis Wagner

GREENVILLE Co., S.C. (WSPA) — The foster father of 2-year-old Za’Marion Wilcox has been arrested after deputies say the toddler drowned over Labor Day weekend at a community pool.

Travis Wagner, 37, has been charged with homicide by child abuse. An arrest warrant states that Za’Marion fell in the pool while Wagner was responsible for him.

During Wagner’s bond hearing, Za’Marion’s biological mother asked the judge to deny bond for Wagner or not allow him to be around children if that bond was set. However, Wagner’s attorney said he had no criminal record and was not a threat to the community. In the end, the judge did not set bond for Wagner because of the charge and he must now go before a circuit court judge.

The state Department of Social Services stated in November after a 45-day investigation that Za’Marion’s foster parents were found physically negligent. The Wagners appealed that decision. DSS says they will have a hearing after the holidays.

If that decision is upheld,  the Wagners will be placed on the registry for Child Abuse and Neglect, barring them from working in a childcare setting or adopting or fostering.

Attorney Sloan Ellis released this statement on behalf of the Wagner family:

“Travis and Rebecca Wagner felt a calling to become foster parents in order to provide a loving home for children who had been removed from their biological parents. In addition to their own children and the four previous foster children they had taken in, Travis and Rebecca loved Za’Marion if he was their own son. They were completely devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident. The Wagner’s continue to pray for Za’marion’s family during this tragic time. This incident was an accident and we intend on vigorously contesting the criminal charge”

Wagner was denied bond Wednesday evening. He’s currently jailed at the Greenville County Detention Center.


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